Top Ten Countdown: Books

Want to know which books are the best ever written?

Which ones you should absolutely make an effort to read at all costs before you die?

Out of the kindness of my heart, I have made a Top Ten for you!

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10. The Hobbit

 

Honestly, if J. R. R. Tolkien had not gone on to write The Lord of the Rings, I don’t know that I would have included this on my list.

But he did.

So let’s not depress ourselves with thoughts of a world without Frodo, alright?

My point is, I’m not sure if I added this to list solely because I love The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit is its adorable prelude, or because it can stand on its own.

Personally, I think it can. 

Yes, it’s simplistic. Childish, even.

After all, Tolkien wrote it for children.

But as some of you know, I am an advocate of teenagers and adults reading children’s literature. There are so many gems we would miss out on if we obeyed the dictates of labels like “YA” and “adult” and “children’s lit.”

I say read kid’s books. There’s almost always something in there for you.

The Hobbit is no exception.

Not only is it fun and lighthearted, but it is truly beautiful in its simplicity.

9. Go Set A Watchman

Yes, this made it on the list.

Even though I wrote an entire post on why I hated it after reading it the first time.

But, ultimately, I love Scout – or Jean Louise. I love Atticus. I love Jem. And Uncle Jack. I love Maycomb County. I love Harper Lee’s blunt prose and dry wit and looking at the world through her unique – almost cynical – lens.

8. Gone With The Wind

I feel almost embarrassed, putting this here. Like maybe it doesn’t quite belong?

For one thing, it’s a well-known romance. Not normally my thing.

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For another, it’s huge. Like The Lord of the Rings huge. Like Les Miserables huge. They paid those guys per-word, right? No wonder they’re a thousand-plus pages long.

Not to mention dense and, at times, quite boring. Gone With The Wind, that is. Be not offended, lovers of Lord of the Rings and Les Mis!

But it rocked my world. And for a book to do that, there has to be something special about it.

7. The Hunger Games Trilogy

I know, I know. This is a bit of a copout. I’m sorry.

I just… can’t separate these three books.

I love them as a whole.

The Hunger Games I loved by itself.

Catching Fire? Eh, notsomuch.

Mockingjay is… well, Mockingjay is a different matter altogether.

But all three? Together?

Perfection.

6. Little Women

What a beautiful picture of family, of childhood, of home, of friendship, of sisterhood, of love.

I come from a large family myself, so I can relate, on so many levels.

According to modern readers, Little Women breaks a great many rules. Like the one about infodumping. Remember that one?

They would probably say that it has no cohesive plot, that there is nothing holding the story together, and that it has no point. That Alcott rambles.

That might be true.

But I reject these criticisms.

This story is true, if nothing else. Alcott has captured the heart of a family in a way that I believe no one else ever has.

And if you can’t appreciate that, you’re not a critic worth having.

This heartwarmingly simple story rings true. And that is enough.

5. North To Freedom

More popularly known by the name I Am David, I saw the movie by the same name long before I knew that it was based on a book at all.

The movie is well crafted – and it features Jim Caviezel before he ceased to have some spark of life in him. So that’s certainly a win for everyone.

But I still maintain that a movie can never quite capture the essence of the book it is based upon.

And that’s okay. Books and movies that tell the same story can be appreciated as separate stories – and appreciated better than if we constantly compare the two.

However, I would hate to see anyone miss out on the amazing story that is the book, simply because they have watched the movie and so think that they have seen everything there is to see.

The book offers so much more.

4. Julie of the Wolves

Oddly enough, this is the only Jean Craighead George book that I like.

I read this book as a young girl – which, honestly, doesn’t mean that I recommend doing that; I read a great many books at a young age that little girls should not be reading – and have since read it over and over again as a teenager.

The raw beauty of this book is so gripping. Every emotion is a color, and the metaphors are breathtaking.

The way Miyax lives in harmony with nature is simply beautiful.

Can I be adopted by a wolf pack, please?

3. To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird, sadly, was not a book that I had the pleasure to grow up with.

I was vaguely aware that a book by such a title existed, but my knowledge did not extend much further than that.

Imagine my surprise and pleasure at meeting this amazing piece of literature.

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Actually, I thought the first chapter was boring and predicted hating the entire book.

Excuse while I go laugh maniacally at myself for a few moments.

Honestly, I don’t have sufficient words to accurately describe my feelings about this book.

It’s a classic for a reason, folks!

2. The Lord of the Rings

I think we can all agree that J. R. R. Tolkien was nothing short of a genius.

We may or may not be able to agree on whether he was not the most boring writer to have ever lived.

At nine years old, I struggled for six months to wade through The Lord of the Rings. So, at that time, I probably would’ve agreed with those of you who say that it’s too boring, too long, and you’d rather just watch the movie.

I would’ve rather watched the movie as well. It was the bitter disappointment of being told that I was not allowed that provided the impetus behind my reading it in the first place.

All these years later, I have read The Lord of the Rings over and over again and it has never been a waste of my time.

It is a truly beautiful book. Action, emotion, beauty, romance, history – it’s all there.


1. Till We Have Faces


I am not actually a fan of C. S. Lewis.

Now those of you who grew up reading The Chronicles of Narnia are disgusted with me.

And those of you who think he’s the boring author of books expounding upon Christianity  are beginning to think my opinion might be valid.

Not to mention that it is currently my favorite book.

Till We Have Faces is unlike anything else C. S. Lewis ever wrote. Obviously every author has a particular voice and there are moments that are clearly recognizable as classic Lewis.

But this is not a kid’s book. And certainly not nonfiction.

It’s actually a retelling. Of a Greek myth.

Pysche and Cupid, to be exact.

It would be better if you experienced for yourself, so I won’t say anything to try and convince you.

Discover it for yourself. Tell me what you think.

What is your favorite book? Have you read any of the books on this list? What did you think of them? Do you ever read kid’s books? Do you ever read books that are intended for an audience that you are not apart of?

Top Ten Movies Countdown

As many of you know, movies are not as much my thing as books.

That said, I do try.

My movie-watching is limited – but, in my defense, I am interested in movies and have compiled a whole list of movies I want to watch for various reasons.

However, the movies I do watch, I have watched many, many times. Which means that I can parrot large portions of it on command, tell you all sorts of things you didn’t even want to know about it, and have basically dissected the poor movie within an inch of its life.

For some movies this means I grow to hate them more with each viewing. For others, it means my love for them grows deeper daily.

Today I want to talk about the second group. Because I know you must be wildly curious.

 

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10. Pride and Prejudice (2005)

The attention to detail, superb casting, and breathtaking music make this movie one of my favorites, not to mention being a bit of a private obsession – I watch it every time I get a chance.

This movie never gets old.

So why is it in last place, you ask?

I may or may not be just slightly embarrassed to call such a cliched chick flick my favorite movie.

Because obviously I have more class than that.

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9. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Admittedly my least favorite of all the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, The Desolation of Smaug is essentially three hours of fire and heat and boredom.

I have also had a terrible cough every single time I’ve watched it so far, so that didn’t do much to improve my opinion of it.

 

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8. The Battle of the Five Armies

Combine the superb acting of Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, and Lee Pace, and breathtaking animation that makes this whole movie look like a watercolor painting come to life and you have The Battle of the Five Armies.

 

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7. An Unexpected Journey

This absolutely delightful first chapter in the Hobbit trilogy is as good as any of its Lord of the Rings predecessors.

Martin Freeman was born to be Bilbo, I firmly believe, and though a rather too-large portion of the movie is spent running away from orcs, I love it just the same.

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6. The Return of the King

All three of the movies that make up the Lord of the Rings trilogy are nothing short of classic, but The Return of the King, for me, is somewhat exhausting. Watching Frodo and Sam toil toward Mount Doom at such a painstakingly slow crawl is torture and the battle scenes are starting to blur together.

Don’t get me wrong. I love this movie. Always have. Always will.

It just, sadly, isn’t the best in the trilogy.

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5. The Two Towers

Many people consider The Two Towers the best movie in the original trilogy and I can see why.

Eowyn, a favorite character, is introduced, Gollum becomes a major character, and the battle of Helm’s Deep is about as epic as anyone could wish.

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4. The Fellowship of the Ring

Call me boring, but I like this one the best. I love seeing the Fellowship whole and together. I love the Shire. Aragorn’s introduction is all that could be desired. Frodo’s pain at losing Gandalf is heartrending. It breaks my heart every time to see him slowly lose faith in the other members of the Fellowship.

The Return of the King is all about Frodo and Sam creeping closer to Mordor.

The highlight of The Two Towers is Eowyn and the Helm’s Deep battle.

I like the variety of The Fellowship of the Ring. It’s about the Shire and Frodo, Gandalf, the Fellowship, Aragorn, Boromir, and friendship.

 

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3. Little Women (1994)

One of my favorite books, this movie comes the closest to doing it justice.

It has its flaws, but it captures Jo’s restlessness and Marmee’s passion, Meg’s romance and Amy’s childishness, it accurately portrays Jo and Laurie’s friendship and the closeness of the sisters and the happiness and beauty of family. In my book, that’s all that matters.

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2. Amazing Grace

This breathtaking movie about William Wilberforce’s passion to abolish slavery is one of the best movies I have ever had the pleasure of watching.

Not only is the filming and casting fantastic, but this movie means something. It is not purely entertainment. It has the potential to change lives.

 

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1. Finding Neverland

Best. Movie. Ever.

The end.

Have you watched any of the movies on my list? What’s your favorite movie? Why?

Top Ten Reasons I Hate Summer

Summer is rapidly approaching. Summer just happens to be my least-favorite season.

Why is that?

I have written a list for you.


1. Stuff Melting

Butter turns into this unattractive, squat, bright yellow glob.

Ice cubes are virtually useless as they disappear before they can make your drink cold – normally, I don’t even use ice cubes to make my beverages cold but during the summer they could actually be helpful if fit weren’t for the fact that they, you know, melt?

Ice cream is just exhausting. You have to constantly be licking all the escaping trickles or your hands will get all sticky like that five-year-old girl’s at the carnival, not to mention that you know your face will end up looking like hers no matter what you do.

Plus, I kind of feel like Im melting.

2. I Almost Never Leave The House

My schedule comes grinding to a halt during the summer. Everything just stops.

As an introvert, I can’t say that I wouldn’t prefer to stay confined to the house all year long. It makes me feel safe. Venturing out of the house is scary. So I don’t exactly miss any of the activities.

At first, it’s refreshing. But after a while? Even my reclusive self has to admit that it gets kind of boring.

3. The Day Drags On Forever

I think we can all agree that summer days are at least 90% longer than regular days.

Daylight Savings and all that?

4. You’re Finally Free And It Looks So Nice Outside So You Feel Like You Should Do Something…

…But it’s so hot that you don’t feel like moving so you hide in the basement all summer instead.

And turn pasty white from lack of sunlight. Ew.

5. My Brain Hurts From Reading Too Many Books

I never get sick of reading. Never.

I love reading! Nothing, and nobody, gets in between Me and My Books. Got that?

Except summer.

Summer is the only time when I actually – sometimes – stop reading books. Only for a week or something, but still. This is a big deal.


6. You Long For Rain But When It Comes It Is Warm Rain And Doesn’t Cool Things Off

Summers are rather hot here. You can’t move without sweating. So everyone holds as still as possible, waiting for night in the hopes that it will get infinitesimally cooler.

So it’s exciting when it rains, you know? Because everyone’s like, “Yes! This will definitely bring cooler temperatures!”

But it doesn’t.

7. Sleep Is The Only Relief But Going To Bed Is Depressing Because You Didn’t Do Anything All Day

Literally.

I sit around all day and do nothing. Except try to stay as cool as possible. Which basically means the same thing.

This leaves me feeling completely unproductive.

That said, I adore sleep, and by the time morning comes, I have somehow achieved a state of pleasant coolness… so getting out of bed is equally depressing.

8. Showers Are Pointless

First off, I do shower. Glad we cleared that up.

However, showering during the summer frustrates me. It is an exercise in futility. No matter how many times you shower, you know that you are going to sweat, feel disgusting and probably smell awful in mere seconds.

9. Bad Hair

I already have bad hair.

That said, it is ten times worse in the summer.

I have a mane of rather crazy hair. I struggle with it constantly. I’ve found that styling gel and sturdy rubber bands are my good friends in this. And usually they’re enough to wrestle my hair into some kind of order.

But humidity equals frizz. And let me tell you, it is not pretty.


10. My Birthday

Oh man.

As a child I could never choose a favorite season. Fall meant jumping in leaves, spring meant playing outdoors, winter boasted snow and, of course, Christmas, and summer meant no school and playing outside – and my birthday!

In the years following my birthday has increasingly come to mean embarrassment, awkwardness, and agony in general.

It means being in the spotlight for an entire day – even when you beg on hands and knees to be ignored. Don’t get me wrong – I love being in the spotlight. But I like to be the one who decides when I want to be there.

It is a depressing reminder of my childhood slipping away. An indication of another year I did nothing with.

I climbed no mountains, traveled to no foreign lands, didn’t even get a book published at the ripe age of sixteen and become and overnight sensation, for crying out loud.

What is there to celebrate, I ask you?

Do you, like me, hate summer? Why? Do you share any of my sentiments, or do you have reasons of your own? Or do you like summer (though I admittedly have a hard time accepting that this is even possible)?